SFMTA makes progress toward its Sustainability and Climate Action program with battery-electric bus chargers

Sept. 30, 2020
The project will kick off the pilot program to determine the SFMTA’s future charging methods for new zero-emission e-buses.

The San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency (SFMTA) will install nine new charging stations at Muni Woods Division to power the agency’s first battery-electric buses. 

Installation will begin in early October and will be a big step in implementing the agency’s Sustainability and Climate Action Program. The project will kick off the pilot program to determine the SFMTA’s future charging methods for new zero-emission e-buses. 

To find out if battery electric bus technology is ready for San Francisco, the SFMTA is implementing an 18-month battery-electric bus pilot program. The SFMTA will procure three, 40-foot buses each from three different manufacturers to test their performance in revenue service for 18 months. The first three battery-electric buses are expected to arrive in spring 2021 as part of the pilot program. 

Questions remain about whether battery electric buses can handle San Francisco’s heavy transit ridership and hilly routes. Before deploying battery-electric buses, they must deliver the same reliability and service as the current hybrid-electric and electric trolley bus fleets. 

As of 2018, 45 percent of San Francisco’s greenhouse gas emissions are generated by the transportation sector which is heavily reliant on carbon-intensive fossil fuels. This reliance on harmful fossil fuels is changing the earth’s climate and contributes to extreme weather events, increased fire risk and sea level rise.  

The SFMTA says its energy-efficient Muni fleet contributes less than two percent of the transportation sector’s emissions and moves approximately 700,000 people every day.  

Electric Bus Pilot Program 

The installation of the new chargers will take approximately nine months to complete. In addition to the battery-electric bus chargers, the updated infrastructure includes electrical support equipment, such as switchgear, switchboard, transformers, power cabinets and conduit. 

  • Construction hours are Monday through Friday, 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. 
  • Bus operation at Woods will operate as usual without interruption. 
  • Work will be contained in the bus yard and will not impact traffic or transit service to the public. 
  • Measures will be taken to control noise and dust during work hours.